Part XIII: Ceeping Up with the Cardassians
Deep Space 9 (DS9) S2 continues along with its own blend of highly political dreariness. Following directly behind the footsteps of S1, the season primarily focuses on Bajor and their struggles to find itself. While S1 contained little more than whispers of who these characters truly are, and what the truth is in all aspects of the series, S2 begins to open up the saga. In some cases we find those we’ve known to be darker than we thought them to be. With others, particularly the Cardassians, we are led down a lighter path of understanding. The series is darker than the others, not just the sets I mean, but in terms of tone. And though the real darkness from S1 begins to turn a lighter shade of grey in S2, this is an aversion. Through a series of concerned looks the characters give one another whenever the word “Dominion” is mentioned we are consistently reminded of a huge unknown which grows more ominous with each mention. It’s good, and if the finale is any indication it’s about to get real good! I mention all of this at the beginning primarily to get it out of the way. This is not really a blog about DS9, no, this is a blog about the seventh and final season of Star Trek: The Next Generation.
The final season is very aware that this is the end. From the premiere one major villain, whom much like all the other recurring villains has a nasty habit of getting away, doesn’t. They die. From there we slowly, and with each episode begin to close out the stories of our friends on the Enterprise. Family plays a large role in the season, as it’s a great way to learn more about and tie up loose ends for our friends of the Enterprise. Pretty much every single character, as a matter of fact, has some sort of “surprise, here’s a family member you didn’t know about” or a “uh oh, something happened to a family member you do know about” episode. Seriously, without any prior mention of these people, in this season alone we meet Geordi’s parents, Deanna’s dead sister, Data’s mom, Worf’s brother, etc, etc.
It could get tiresome but as always these people play smaller roles in larger stories. The stories at least are a return to form from the weaker S6. Knowing this season is your last is usually enough to focus a series once again. Several episodes ended with a cheesy smile on my face. TNG S7 is emotional, expressive, and intelligent. Star Trek often has a habit of making great episodes out of taking something over the top at the beginning. By showing a well thought out explanation of it, they turn it into a fantastic episode. While many episodes of TNG, and certainly many from The Original Series (TOS) often begin with something cheesy, I didn’t find much of that with the final season. The basis for episodes remained as clever as the episodes themselves. So sure, I’ll gladly sit through an Enterprise family reunion to get to the resolutions of each episode.
Why gladly? After 7 seasons if I’m not interested in finding out all I can about these people then why would I still be watching? I’m certainly not getting any compensation for The Trek Trek, I can tell you that much. I do genuinely care about these people. Now that the series has ended, I kind of don’t want it to. The prospect of not having Data around on the show is kind of messing me up here. Each and every regular character on TNG, be it Captain Picard or Q, Riker or Wesley Crusher, is amazing. You do genuinely watch these people grow over the 7 seasons. They become wiser and stronger. Now it seems as they have become as well working a unit as the Borg themselves, I have to leave them behind.
While some character’s chapters are closed, the story is not. The finale does an excellent job of bringing closure without closing. Allowing for an end without tearful good byes but instead joyful reminders of what makes the show as great as it is. It is satisfying, exiting, and endearing. I will truly miss this series. If you’ll excuse me though, like I said at the beginning, some serious shit is about to go down on DS9. So I’m gonna get back to that.